Ethics and the Great Climate Change E-mail Heist

Warning! Stormy ethics waters ahead!

Computer hackers invaded the server at the influential Climatic Research Unit at The University of East Anglia, in eastern England, and left with over a decade’s worth of correspondence between leading British and U.S. scientists, including 1,000 e-mails and 3,000 documents. The information was passed on to dozens of salivating bloggers and science-minded websites, which  launched selections from the stolen material into the climate change debate just in time for the upcoming U.N. conference on the topic in Copenhagen. The emails show beyond much doubt that 1) scientists are competitive, often mean-spirited, arrogant, and egotistic;  2) scientists who are climate change advocates are contemptuous of everyone who believes otherwise, including fellow scientists. Neither of these revelations are especially newsworthy, being firmly in the “dog bites man” category.

What is newsworthy, and perhaps significant, is that many of the scientists’ comments raise questions of whether these researchers are so certain that they are right about the fact and causes of global warming that they are manipulating the data and hiding anything that might give ammunition to the hated and derided global warming skeptics. The Climatic Research Unit director, for example, told colleagues about a technique used by another scientist to ”hide the decline” in recent global temperatures. Some evidence appears to show a that global temperatures stopped rising around 1960, while other evidence shows a rise in temperatures is continuing. The director, Phil Jones wrote that new data he had just compiled employed “Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

Other scientists described their efforts to account for the cooling the earth has seen over the last 10 years. One mused that rather than including the cooling data in an upcoming presentation, he might “cut the last few points off the filtered curve before I give the talk again as that’s trending down as a result of the end effects and the recent coldish years.” Some of the private messages suggest that  pro-climate change experts believe the  data is not as conclusive as the non-scientists among us, including journalists, elected officials and policy-makers, have been led to believe. In one e-mail exchange, for example, Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, expresses his frustration with the failure to explain variations in temperature, writing at one point:

“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

So…“Ethics, ethics, who’s got the ethics” in the Great Climate Change E-mail Heist? Let’s see…

Not the computer hackers who stole the messages and data from the Climatic Research Unit’s server, that’s for sure. The private communications between scientists are certainly provocative, alarming or damning, depending on your point of view, but the fact that an illegal invasion of the University’s server turned up information that might have vital policy-making implications cannot retroactively justify the blatantly wrongful act. To argue otherwise is consequentialism, the seductive and invalid ethical theory that the results of an act determine its ethical status. Please note that consequentialism supports a government police force  routinely breaking into private residences without cause or warrants, because its agents will sometimes discover eleven bodies in the basement, a terrorist’s dirty bomb, or the secret lair of  Jack the Ripper.

The press and media outlets that publicize the stolen communications and documents are not ethical, either, though journalism’s own codes of professional ethics say otherwise.  The news media’s self-sanctified role is that of an illegal information-launderer: a thief, traitor, or disloyal employee breaks laws, contracts or pledges while taking material that he or she has no right to take. Journalists, under full the protection of the First Amendment, then give the information wide publication, guaranteeing the maximum damage to the victims of the theft. Their smug justification is that “the public has a right to know.” How can the public have a “right to know” the content of stolen information that they didn’t have a right to see in the first place? Real answer: because it’s profitable and convenient for the news industry. If  journalists didn’t magically turn the fruits of crime and betrayal into respectable news material, there would be far fewer thefts, hacks and leaks.

Never mind. Journalists will never stop laundering illegally obtained information. It is an unethical habit that their culture and the public has embraced and even celebrated for too long. I just wish reporters would stop expecting to be lionized for it.

The most challenging ethics question raised by the hacking is this: what do the stolen emails say about the ethics of global warming researchers? Predictably, objective answers are hard to find. Commentators and others who already accept the majority position on climate change have brushed off the e-mails as meaningless. RealClimate, a blog about climate change, actually found the released messages benign:

“…More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though. Instead, there is a peek into how scientists actually interact and the conflicts show that the community is a far cry from the monolith that is sometimes imagined. People working constructively to improve joint publications; scientists who are friendly and agree on many of the big picture issues, disagreeing at times about details and engaging in ‘robust’ discussions; Scientists expressing frustration at the misrepresentation of their work in politicized arenas and complaining when media reports get it wrong; Scientists resenting the time they have to take out of their research to deal with over-hyped nonsense. None of this should be shocking.”

That isn’t how the climate change skeptics see it.  A blogger for The Australia Herald Sun suggested that the e-mails proved a “warmist conspiracy”:

“…the 1079 emails and 72 documents seem indeed evidence of a scandal involving most of the most prominent scientists pushing the man-made warming theory – a scandal that is one of the greatest in modern science. I’ve been adding some of the most astonishing in updates below – emails suggesting conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more. If it is as it now seems, never again will “peer review” be used to shout down skeptics.”

Both extremes are motivated by bias and specific agendas, and should not be trusted. The key issue is whether global warming researchers can be trusted. It seems clear that the hacked messages show strong cause not to trust them, at least with the blind reliance of so many politicians, environmentalists, activists and Al Gore. The scientists’ egos are tied up in being “right;” their reputations depend on being “right;” their research funding depends on being “right,” or more accurately, on being perceived as being right. (We will not really know who is “right” about this issue until it is either too late or irrelevant.) Are such attitudes and needs motivations for the researchers to keep an open mind, reveal all data that could be used to challenge their conclusions, and be candid about their own doubts?

You know the answer.

The e-mails, if they don’t prove  that the scientists are using fraudulent data, certainly indicate that they are not being completely candid with the public, either. That is unethical, especially when politicians and journalists who couldn’t possibly comprehend  the raw data or charts and graphs that these scientists argue over still angrily compare climate-change doubters to creationists and Holocaust deniers. Climate change science is far, far more complicated than its layperson advocates acknowledge or even understand.  Dissenting views, in the minority though they may be, deserve more respect.

The best outcome from the hacking and its revelations would be to force doctrinaire climate change advocates to moderate their certitude, cool their rhetoric, and give opposing views due respect (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who once said that she “saw global warming,” thus proving her absolute ignorance on the topic, should especially take note), since the experts on whom all their certainty is based  aren’t quite so certain themselves. If they were, they wouldn’t have to resort to “Mike’s Nature trick,” would they?

There happens to be an excellent resource on climate change that really tries to be even-handed and fair on the issue. It is called Climate Debate Daily. I recommend it highly.

30 thoughts on “Ethics and the Great Climate Change E-mail Heist

  1. May I suggest that you crack open a dictionary and take a look at the definition of ‘trick’. Here, I’ll help:

    trick noun (METHOD)/trɪk/ n [C] – an effective or quick way of doing something

    As in “Tricks of the trade.” or “What’s the trick of getting this chair to fold up?”

    An yet you assume it means to be devious and dishonest. Confirmation bias, perhaps?

    Regardless, like every other commentator who finds sinister meaning in these stolen, cherry-picked words and phrases from a period of over a decade, you can find nothing that actually refutes any of the *science*.

    P.S. People who reject all evidence and science are not ‘skeptics’, they are Deniers.

    • And when the effective way of doing something effectively obscures and misrepresents data, as this appeared to do, it meets another definition of “trick” . “An act or procedure intended to achieve an end by deceptive or fraudulent means.” I’m glad you’re a retroactive mind-reader who can divine what someone was thinking when he wrote something in the PAST. The e-mail is ambiguous, which is all I said. Why are you so defensive? I didn’t say it was certain what they meant, just that the messages suggested less than the complete, undebatable certainty that advocates with chips on their shoulders (such as,apparently, you) claim. As long as there are respectable, credentialed, reasonable experts in climatology who do NOT agree with the prevailing majority view (which, as the e-mails prove, is only a consensus in the loosest form of the word), and there ARE, then “skeptic” is the correct term, and “denier” is a political, uncivil and unfair word, used mostly by non-scientists whose conviction is based on what they want to believe rather than scholarly analysis of the very complex data, intended to ridicule and intimidate other views, including those of people who know a lot more about the science than the bullies throwing around “denier.” Got all that? The extent, duration, and causes of, and the remedies for, climate change are by no means settled to the extent political advocates claim they are. That IS a fact, but if you deny it, I still won’t call you a “denier.” I’ll give you the respect of calling you “unjustifiably certain.” Or maybe just “biased.”

        • David, your argument disproves itself, because I am NOT convinced that it is a “big hoax.” I am also not sure which version of “trick” was being used, and if you didn’t have a closed mind, you wouldn’t either.

          Here’s a test: this is an excerpt from the Washington Post:

          “In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.
          “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow–even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
          In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann writes. . . .”

          If you think this kind of suppression of debate and opposing views by colleagues constitutes ethical research and scientific conduct, you’re beyond hope. And, may I say, individuals who work like this can be rebuttably presumed to favor my definition of “trick” rather than yours.

          I am not here to debate climate change. This is an ethics blog. My personal view is that that the warming of the earth is far too hard to measure and requires too many assumptions, models and extrapolations to be predicted or tracked with anything like the certainty many of these scientists pretend to…and indeed, though they always have a rationalization ready, their models fail frequently. They may be right and they may be wrong, but what they may not be is CERTAIN, because the predictability of super-large, complex systems over time is never certain.

          And be warned: if you use the term ‘denier’: again, your comment will be blocked.

            • I’ve read extremely widely on this issue. Unlike you, I don’t have a stake in the outcome, and my primary concern is the extreme hubris and absurd certainty of people like yourself, who are actually bystanders in the debate and who do not have the credentials to evaluate who is correct and who isn’t. I know what you do for a living, and you’re no climatologist. You wouldn’t know a legitimate study calling the majority conclusions into question if it fell on you…and neither would I. I could be fooled by “tricks” easily…so could you. But you’d just dismiss anything that didn’t fit into your favored construct. Most of the “combatants” on both sides are like this. In your terms, you’re a “denier” yourself.

              Your greenfyre link is a joke. That is not an objective assessment—it assumes the conclusion. And the argument that “denier” is not intended to evoke Holocaust denial is total dishonesty, in the same class with those who use racial epithets and claim that they aren’t racists.

              What is really telling is that you are so committed to avoiding all legitimate inquiry that you can’t even countenance an even-handed approach. I did not say at any point that the hacked messages proved anything, other than the obvious: the so-called consensus was not as confident as advertised. If it were, why would the correspondents be so worried about adversary views? Horrors. [ Derogatory adjective deleted by author] Arguments like yours, based on faith and ideology rather than genuine expertise, simply reinforce my concern that this is a “consensus” driven by agendas rather than fair analysis.

              • Fine speech.

                When you can find some compelling science to refute the decades of accumulated science that demonstrates ACC is fact, write another speech and wait for the Nobel Foundation to call.

                Until then, you are no different to all the other Deniers – driven by ignorance, incredulity, Dunning Kruger and a penchant for conspiracy theories. Your masquerade of scholarly scepticism is not persuasive.

                • David, your thread on this is its own illustration of the intellectual dishonesty and bullying mentality that characterizes fanatics on this issue, and for that I thank you. Obviously there is “consensus” when those in the majority actively suppress adverse views. Obviously there are no “reputable” scientists that oppose the majority, if “reputable” is defined as supporting the majority.

                  Climate change science may have everything exactly right, but its researchers intentionally hype the results, over-state certainty and obscure confounding factors to build a legion of scientifically untrained acolytes in the media and in political bodies. And that is dishonest and unethical, whether the science turns out to be right or wrong.

                  You are the walking, talking proof of why it’s wrong, more than any hacked e-mails.

  2. P.S. Your recommendation of Climate Debate Daily is as flawed as the analysis here. It presents both ‘sides’ equally – as though they were equally weighted. They are not.

    On one side is the planet’s climate scientists, on the other a bunch of politicians, economists, oil-funded scientists and a mountain of internet ‘experts’.

    • The only way to present both “sides” is to present them. A minority view on this topc is not per se the wrong one. The site is a good and fair overview of the commentary and debate, and I also think the site makes it very clear which is the prevailing view. Your comments indicate that you find any dissent at all offensive. I agree with that position in relation to, for example, the Holocaust, the Apollo moon landing, the fact of evolution, the citizenship of Barack Obama and the fact that the US government was no complicit in 9-11. Climate change science is by no means as settled. As the e-mail exchanges show.

      • Again: there are not two equal ‘sides’. You’re suffering as many do from false equivalence.

        > A minority view on this topc is not per se the wrong one.

        It’s not a “minority” view – the ‘other side’ is the non-scientific view.

        There are no more two sides to this debate than there is about evolution by natural selection.

        I find pollution of the science by ideologues and ranting wingnuts offensive. “Dissent” of the science happened where it always does – in laboratories, field stations, peer reviewed literature – that process has been ongoing for decades.

        There is now no credible scientific doubt about what is happening. Anyone who believes otherwise is some combination of ignorant or delusional. It really is that stark a choice.

  3. And it isn’t that stark a choice. There no reputable scientists…none, zero…that oppose the fact of evolution. There are such scientists that dispute whether climate change is man-caused or caused by other factors; the extent and duration of it, how or whether it can be reversed, what the best way to combat it is, whether it is being hyped to panic policy-makers into action. And because there is rampant bias on all ends of this, it is impossible to say anyone’s opinion/conclusion is untainted. What is certifiably ignorant is to assume any scientific conclusion or research regarding future events is beyond challenge.

    • You are wrong. There are reputable scientists that deny evolution (but not many). There also are not many who deny the theory behind global warming. They may dispute the magnitude of the effect and when and what the consequences may be, but not the basic idea. The basic problem is that the atmosphere and climate are complicated. You can’t approximate the system as a few perfect, rolling spheres.

      You are correct, however, that this issue has become so politicized that normal scientific progress is skewed. When a small group of people with an agenda gain control of the journals in the area, there is a big problem. It probably means he scope of those journals is too narrow and it has become too inbred. No reputable scientific journal would allow people to withhold their data. Most make sure to put at least one of a person’s rivals on the reviewing team. I had a paper that was held up for a year because a reviewer required more than the ordinary amount of proof for a point. In your list of villains in this fiasco, the journals need to be listed prominently. The journals also need to retract all of the affected articles. Retracting the articles would have a big effect on the climate debates because it makes all of that work uncitable and unusable.

      On a lighter note. How did the University of East Anglia become so powerful? I thought East Anglia lost prominence in the time of Alfred the Great.

      • There are reputable scientists who question Darwin’s theory of how evolution occurs, but none that dispute the fact of evolution.

        Well, yeah, nobody disputes that the climate changes, and the CO2 theory may be sound. The whole policy issue is how long will a cycle last, what factors are involved, how big is the effect, and what can be done about it. When short term models continually fail and the people who make them swear that their long-term models are accurate, something is wrong.

        I agree about East Anglia…good to see it’s making a comeback.

  4. Isn’t “trick” a great word. It allows you to say one thing, then pretend you meant another. I suggest let’s use trick-hide, and trick-out when discussing tricksters. You trick-hide something when you mean to deceive. You often use the word ‘hide’ with it. If you trick something out, you’re just enhancing it, like tricking out your car’s appearance or performance. You certainly don’t ‘hide’ what your tricking out, you it show off. So if the scientist were tricking out their data, using some fancy algorithm to show off how rad and accurate their data was, they wouldn’t use the associative ‘hide’. They publish it and show it off like R.A. Fisher, Guiness’s “Student” or A. Wald did when they devised new statistical methods that lead to great understanding not obfuscation.

    These climate scientists were trick-hiding. If they were tricking-out the data in a way that factor analysis legitimately contained the ‘decline’ along a significant factors that allowed their current models to shine, they’d use a different language, and they publicize it to high heaven as a Eureka Moment.

    • As I’m sure you didn’t bother reading any of the links I provided, here’s the content of one:

      ~~~
      Phil Jones says he has use Mann’s “Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series”…to hide the decline”

      ‘The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate’ -Gavin Schmidt.

      Surely if your aim is to ‘hide’ something then publishing it in Nature is probably not a great move …
      ~~~

      Basically, the theft and cherry picking of a couple of words out of thousands of emails spread across more than a decade has achieved nothing for you Deniers. You’ve not refuted one single aspect of the science as a result.

      This episode is more of an own goal as it exposes the lack of integrity in stealing personal communications and shows that you have *zero* scientific argument. You’re now reduced to the standard conservative playbook – smear your output with anything that comes to hand – including imagined conspiracies.

      • We haven’t seen all the e-mails yet. I’m a lawyer—discover always involves sifting through thousands of pages to find the evidence. As I said, I would have returned the e-mails unread. As I keep saying, I’m not making a scientific argument at all, because I’m not qualified to. Unlike you, I will not to pretend to have expertise I don’t have. [PREVIOUS SENTENCE REVISED BY AUTHOR] The e-mails DO show efforts to suppress debate, discredit dissenters, and shade research results to avoid calling attention to flaws. This goes on all the time in research—I DO have experience in research ethics and teach it. And it’s wrong. But reasearchers always rationalize doing it because, you know, they are right, and being open just gives ammunition to “deniers.”

  5. Too bad climatologist can’t do math, or present a falsifiable hypothesis.

    We also see a repeat of tremendous fallacy over and over (not science): ice caps are melting, therefore man-made carbon is the cause. Where is your data? The graph doesn’t fit, you must acquit (or trick it, man, groovy)

    Oh, we’ll throw in another one: Appeal to Authority!

    So many fallacies, so little science.

    • Too bad also that people use political ideology to judge science. What does scientific fact properly have to do with liberal or conservative ideologies? Gravity works or it doesn’t. The dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteor or they weren’t. The earth is going to keep getting warmer until New York is under water or it isn’t. Good science isn’t defined by what policies it leads to. When someone presumes a political orientation because one won’t accept a scientific theory on faith, I distrust that person’s judgment and ability to overcome their own biases. And if a scientist has a political agenda, he or she can’t be trusted either.

  6. Wow. I’d say this thread had a lot of excitement, but the only thing excited were the tempers. I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but I’m going to waste some time and write a post based on entire rubbish.

    I’m not going to label myself as an environmentalist, a conservationist, a climatologist, a majority, a scientist, a minority, a skeptic, or a denier. But if you read my entire post, I’ll let you tell me what I am, and I will embrace that label because that’s exactly what I will want to be.

    I believe climates change. Please correct any of the following statements.

    I think we at one point in our history had a great flood and even an ice age. It seems the climate has been getting steadily warmer since then.

    I think polar ice caps shrink and grow with each season and that in more recent times, they’ve done more shrinking than growing.

    I think this planet has limited resources for all of its inhabitants and any reducing, recycling, & reusing we can do as part of that eco-system will improve the eco-system.

    I think this planet is complicated and has numerous components that make it a living planet.

    I think all of the factors that affect a thermometer can never be known. (How do you quantify a solar flare, a gentle breeze, a passing shadow?)

    I think science research into the matter can only be selective of certain conditions, but no research can assume all conditions and quantify everything.

    I think all research points to what has happened, suggests what current trends are, but can not predict the future.

    I think all research should give temperatures from all levels of the Earth and not all places. (Inner Space, Atmosphere, High Peaks, Low Valleys, Sea Surface, Deep Sea, & Earth Crust) If one thing I’ve learned, it’s that this whole thing is inter-connected.

    I think climate change on its own is not bad.

    I think “man” is egotistical and the most self-centered creature to walk the earth.

    I think we are egotistical to believe that we alone cause climate change.

    I think we are egotistical to believe that we can stop the will of a planet.

    I think we are egotistical to believe that the current climate is the most optimal climate and that climate change is a bad thing.

    But most importantly – I think DavidCOG is willing to remove opposition at any cost.

    And I think that makes him dangerous.

    David –
    Step 1: Determine if Climate Change is occurring.
    Presumed: Yes

    Step 2: Determine how Climate Change is occurring.
    Presumed: Increased temperatures, melting ice caps.

    Step 3: Determine if Climate Change is a bad thing.
    Presumed: We haven’t even started this debate – despite the science being settled.

    Step 4: Determine if we need to “Change the Climate Change”.
    Presumed: Yes, though we failed to complete Step 3.

    Step 5: Determine if anything we do will “Change the Climate Change”.
    Presumed: Yes, though the science is settled that temperatures are changing – we seem to have assumed that we already know that we are all powerful and will “Change the Climate Change” at will.

    Step 6: Throw a party because we saved the planet.
    Presumed: I think I read somewhere that we will be half way to our goal around October 2012 and be saved from Climate Change somewhere around October 2016. Big parties are planned for both occasions and pats on the back for everyone!

    But seriously though – I’m not that committed to my points of view – so twist my arm just slightly and I’ll see things your way, I swear! Please don’t hurt me too bad!

    • Thoughtful as always. I think that hubris is a big factor in the climate change debate. If the e-mails prove anything, they prove that.
      Somehow, I don’t think you’ll be hearing any more from David. He mind is made up.; don’t confuse him with facts…or the absence of facts.

      • Planet’s climate scientists tell us one thing, a bunch of ‘internet experts’ with sideshow blogs tell us another.

        Who to believe?! Such a difficult decision… for those who can’t separate science from a hole in the ground.

        Jack, you really need to consider the possibility you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Go look up ‘Dunning Kruger effect’ – you’ve got a bad dose of it.

        • Talk about a false representation of the facts! I don’t have to read a single “sideshow blog” to know that 1) scientific “consensus” has been wrong over and over throughout the history of science, often with catastrophic results. 2) complex systems, like weather, are incredibly difficult to predict. The climate, which includes weather, is infinitely more complex…too complex to ever be predicted with the certainty climate change advocates falsely assert, knowing better all the while. Do YOU know better? Who knows. 3) climate science involves a great deal of extrapolating and estimating, plus computer modeling, which is far from infallible. 4) I know that research is bedeviled with bias, conflicts of interest and fraud 5) before I blindly trust experts on any topic, they must prove to me that they are trustworthy. I know also that scientists that privately discuss how to subdue dissenting opinions and to hide non-conforming data cannot be trusted. 6) some people, sadly, like yourself, decide who to believe based on ideology rather than merit. 7)unbiased individuals don’t believe anything 100%, unless they have the expertise and knowledge to check the research themselves, and fair-minded individuals don’t bully people who disagree with their pet theories by comparing them to Holocaust deniers.

          [Unnecessarily harsh comment deleted by author] I will politely ignore your “Dunning Krueger” insult. [Derogatory comment deleted by author.]

          • Oh, dear, Jack – the problem is becoming very apparent. A very basic and deep-seated ignorance of science – mixed with a rather mediocre reading comprehension: the “sideshow blog” is this one.

            “The science has been wrong before!” This, in particular, really exposes your bone-deep ignorance of the science. It’s not just an idea that someone had one Friday afternoon and a few other scientists just said “Sounds good! Let’s go with that!”.

            It’s a massive pyramid of science from multiple disciplines that has been built, tested and retested over the course of over 150 years. Google ‘history climate change’ and educate yourself a little. Or you can just call me arrogant again. Whichever you think will help you most.

            Now, Jack, see if you’re capable of just a slither of introspection and try to spot the hypocrisy in you bleating about civility while calling me arrogant, ignorant (along with the planet’s climate scientists), intellectually dishonest, a bully – I could go on, but to a reasonable person that’s enough evidence to demonstrate your hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness.

            Finally, Jack, try and absorb a few irrefutable facts and consider the implications: every national science academy of every major industrialised country on the planet, representing thousands of scientists, confirms that human activity is heating the planet. 97% (at last count) of published climate scientists confirm the same. No climate papers published between 2000 – 2008 reject or contradict the conclusions put forward by the IPCC.

            So, are all the planet’s climate scientists confused or lying – or is it Jack Marshall who, despite his colossal intellect, really doesn’t have the first clue what he’s talking about?

            P.S. I can near-guarantee the answer, Jack, because the problem with those who are ignorant, delusional and suffering from Dunning Kruger is that they are incapable of recognising that they suffer any of those afflictions.

            P.P.S. You said earlier: “There no reputable scientists…none, zero…that oppose the fact of evolution.” It’s clearly not only climate science that you’re ignorant of. Try asking a creationist (evolution Denier) if there are any reputable scientists who oppose it. They will perfectly mimic the performance that you’ve put on in these comments. Think on that, Jack, and see if it helps you any.

            I’ll leave you to your comfortable denial and cognitive dissonance now, Jack. And let’s be clear – as the rest of the world moves on without you Deniers, that cognitive dissonance is going to become deafening!

            • [Personal insult deleted by author] You question my reading ability, but you prove that you couldn’t comprehend my post. Find one mention of my questioning whether human beings are contributing to global warming. Indeed, [Personal insult deleted by author] , I never “denied” anything. I specifically wrote that the hacked e-mails did NOT show a conspiracy. [Derogatory comment deleted by author.] You continue to insult me for raising legitimate questions about the trustworthiness of scientists who openly discuss cheating. There is no consensus among mainstream scientists about how much, how fast, how long the climate is warming, or what or whether there is anything we can do about it. But never mind. That’s consensus enough for you to feel justified in being obnoxious.

              You have the ideal intellect for the U.S. Congress, I’ll give you that. [ Mean comment, but left in anyway by author, because it is true.]

              That’s your last comment here, though, my friend. I told you to cut out the “denier” slurs four rants ago, and that was it. Go share scientific certainty stories with the Fellowship of the Gullible, Biased and Weak-Minded, because your mind is too closed for rational discourse here.

              [Amusing, accurate, but uncivil zinger deleted, with regret.]

  7. Jack,
    Thanks for the great article and subsequent add-ons. I guess some feel it would be easier to dismiss you and cherry pick their responses (or, in this case, argue a counter-point to a point you never asserted in the first place) than to have a civilized discussion.

    It sounds like you two don’t even have differing views on the subject… but he’ll never know that. Did you notice he didn’t even read or respond to my comment?

    He apparently didn’t find “Denier” offensive and continued to use it. I wonder if he finds the “n” word offensive, and if he doesn’t, if he uses it. This is an ethics blog, so I think we’re done here, but I just wanted to thank you for the display. I think there may be lessons for that Internet Code of Conduct you posed for us a few days ago.

    • Thanks, Tim, but I actually think I botched that exchange. I should have just blocked him when he explicitly refused to honor my request not to use “denier.” As it was I let him draw me into making personal comments, and much as he deserved them, that’s not the tone I want here, from anybody. The “Dunning Kruger Effect” shot was what did it…that’s the tendency of smart people to think they’re dumber than they are and dumb people to think they’re smart…and it’s a sneaky way of calling someone a moron.

      I went back and deleted many of my nastier comments to David in the thread, and also noted that I had, so it would be clear in any review that I was retracting, not redacting. I’m writing a blog post about it, because it’s a good lesson. Civility isn’t easy, especially when the other guy isn’t playing fair or practicing it himself.

  8. Wow, Jack, I haven’t visited in a few days and I missed all this? Pity.

    Your actions are far more praiseworthy than mine. I sometimes run afoul of this sort of person on my blog, and to my great discredit, I usually leave the “Amusing, accurate, but uncivil zinger[s]” in there.

    I am quite certain that were this my blog, my civility would have broken down far quicker than yours, and he would have been banned after the message which included, “It’s not a “minority” view – the ‘other side’ is the non-scientific view.” He must not be aware that the number of scientists who have expressed skepticism about anthropogenic global warming publicly exceed the number who have expressed support. You deserve a lot of credit for your restraint.

    It has been a long time since I have seen such extraordinary, unprincipled elitism as DavidCOG displayed in this thread. It is truly a remarkable, even gobsmacking sight.

    This belongs in the Hall of Fame for many reasons, good and bad. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Trust the Science, Not the Scientist? « Ethics Alarms

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